09Mar

Defining the Product Manager


Shot of a handsome designer holding a cup of coffee and a digital tabletNo two product managers are the same, but there are just some parts of the job that should remain constant. We looked at what a product manager’s core responsibilities are – and what they aren’t – so you’re clearer on what your responsibilities really are. Feel free to show this article to anyone who’s asking you to take on more than you should be!

You’re an expert, but not a techie or data nerd
Product management is a commercial role. You don’t need to have a technical background to understand your product area and be a subject matter expert, or to create solutions to problems. However, you’ll have an understanding of what different functions do within the business, so you understand the impact your choices and decisions have on them.

Likewise, you don’t need to get bogged down in analytics and spreadsheets. Let the data analyst or user researcher take the weight – analysis is your job, not the paralysis of collecting and sifting through it in the first place. This frees you up to take those insights to stakeholders and help get them on board with your plan of action.

You’re a cheerleader, but not a sales rep
It’s your job to articulate all the benefits of the product, but you’re not the marketer; that’s what sales, social media and marketing are for. They communicate directly to and with customers; you can use the information you’re given to develop the product even further.

It does fall to you to create the material that supports the sales crew: training presentations and handbooks, technical data sheets etc. You’ll also create the after-sales support policy.

You manage the product, but you don’t own everything to do with it
If you’re getting bogged down in making day-to-day decisions, sorting through backlogs and creating roadmaps, then it’s time to shift that to an actual project manager. This leaves you free to focus on the product and product portfolio, produce a business plan for the product, and look at what the wider market and regulators are doing.

You’ll set priorities and work on strategy – let the project manager worry about getting it done on time.

You’re influential… but not the boss (sorry)

A top product manager understands that they have a multidisciplinary approach, and bring various functions together with their flair for persuasion and inspiration. While yours is not to sell the product, it is to sell the ‘why it matters’ to the business.

Think of it as like being a conductor: you’re not the main attraction, but you create harmony from multiple elements from start to finish.

For more information on our vibrant Product Management Recruitment division, click here.

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